Eastern District of New York
Overview and History
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York is a federal trial court that oversees cases arising under federal law in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Nassau, and Suffolk counties. It was established on February 25, 1865 by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War era.
The Eastern District has a long and storied history. Some of the nation’s most famous mob trials, terrorism cases, and civil rights battles have played out within its courtrooms. It handles an immense caseload impacting millions of residents across Long Island, New York City, and beyond.
Location and Jurisdiction
Geographically, the Eastern District of New York extends across Long Island and includes the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island.
Its jurisdiction covers the counties of Kings, Nassau, Queens, Richmond, and Suffolk. For the waters within Bronx and New York counties, it shares concurrent jurisdiction with the Southern District of New York.
The court handles both civil and criminal matters that arise under federal law. Its judges oversee cases dealing with federal questions, bankruptcy, patents, maritime law, and more.
Key Courthouses and Offices
Theodore Roosevelt United States Courthouse
The Theodore Roosevelt U.S. Courthouse, located at 225 Cadman Plaza East in Brooklyn, is the Eastern District’s main courthouse. This historic building houses courtrooms, judges’ chambers, the Clerk’s Office, U.S. Probation, and other key District offices.
The Eastern District also holds court at facilities in Central Islip, Hauppauge, Hempstead, and Uniondale on Long Island. These locations provide greater access to justice for Nassau and Suffolk residents.
Leadership and Administration
The U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of New York is Vincent F. DeMarco. The Marshal provides security for the court system and handles duties like transporting prisoners.
Clerk of Court
The Clerk of Court maintains court records and supports the overall administration of court operations. Douglas C. Palmer serves as the current Clerk.
The U.S. Attorney represents the federal government in criminal and civil cases within the district. Breon Peace is the sitting U.S. Attorney.
Federal Cases and Controversies
The Eastern District has handled many prominent cases over the decades. These include the trials of mafia bosses like John Gotti, terrorists like the Blind Sheik, and civil rights milestones like Brown v. Board of Education.
Type of Cases
Today, the Eastern District continues to oversee major criminal prosecutions, class actions, regulatory enforcement, habeas petitions, and civil claims between diverse parties. The COVID-19 pandemic also led to a surge in bankruptcy filings.
Practicing Law in the Eastern District
Admission to Practice
Attorneys must be admitted to practice law in New York and register with the Eastern District to appear before the court. The admission process includes background checks and completing local requirements.
Local Rules and Procedures
Litigants in the Eastern District must follow the court’s local rules, which cover areas like filing protocols, motion practice, and jury selection. Understanding these procedures is key to effective advocacy.
Contact Information and Resources
Phone and Address
The main courthouse is located at 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, NY 11201. The Clerk’s Office phone number is (718) 260-0400.
Website and Social Media
The Eastern District of New York maintains a website at www.nyed.uscourts.gov with court information and a Twitter account (@EDNYnews) for updates.
For over 150 years, the Eastern District has profoundly shaped the legal landscape in New York City and Long Island. This federal court continues to take on complex cases and administer justice in its unique corner of America. From the bench to the bar, those involved with the Eastern District help safeguard rights and the rule of law.
Who are the current judges on the Eastern District bench?
The Eastern District has 15 authorized judgeships. Notable active judges include Chief Judge Margo Brodie and Judge Eric R. Komitee.
What is the difference between the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York?
The Southern District covers Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester, and other northern counties. The Eastern District includes Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Long Island.
How can I access public court records for the Eastern District?
PACER contains the Eastern District’s electronic court records. Files can also be viewed at the Clerk’s Office or requested by phone or mail.
Where do grand juries meet for the Eastern District?
Grand juries typically meet at the Theodore Roosevelt Courthouse. They hear evidence presented by prosecutors and decide on criminal indictments.
Who was the last U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District?
Richard P. Donoghue served as U.S. Attorney from 2018 until 2021. He oversaw many high-profile organized crime and terrorism cases.